Spain to Scotland: You’re not special

Madrid won’t let an independent Scotland stay in the EU, but won’t necessarily block any application to join either.



MADRID — Spain will not agree to an independent Scotland staying in the European Union after Brexit — at least, not until it applies to join on its own merits.


As the governments in London and Edinburgh prepare their battle plans ahead of a potential second Scottish independence referendum, both are paying careful attention to what happens in Madrid. Spain has long been the most vocal opponent within the EU to any kind of separate deal for an independent Scotland because of fears that allowing such an arrangement would encourage Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain.


To judge by the views of senior MPs and government officials in Madrid interviewed for this article, neither U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May nor Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is likely to be entirely happy — or disappointed — with the noises coming from the Spanish capital.


For the SNP, there is no getting away from it: Any hope in Holyrood that Spain might acquiesce to an independent Scotland remaining in the EU in the U.K.’s place despite Brexit is a non-starter.


But Spain’s stance is not as hard-line as the U.K. prime minister’s closest advisers insist. One senior government official familiar with May’s thinking said there was “no way on earth” Spain would ever accept an independent Scotland into the EU.


According to senior figures in the Madrid government, Spain is not saying it will indefinitely block an independent Scotland rejoining the EU but neither has it agreed this might be possible.


The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy simply insists that, were it to become independent, Scotland must apply to join like everybody else. Any decision on whether to veto a Scottish application to join the EU as an independent country will be taken at a later date.


​Read more from the source article published on POLITICO on Mar. 23 2017.




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